In the sleepy town of Sonoma, a night out consists of bundling up by a roaring fire with a glass of local wine. Days are filled with vineyard-hopping and bike rides around the historic square. It’s an idyllic lifestyle that will call to you long after you’ve left. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself pondering leaving your corporate job and taking up shop at a winery, because many of the locals have done just that. But, if you are looking for a quick taste of a slower life where opulent leisure reigns supreme, look no further than Sonoma. Below, our weekend guide to this California gem.
Where to Stay:
You won’t find many large resorts in Sonoma, but rather thoughtful boutique hotels dreamed up by locals to entrench guests in the essence of the town. MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa’s calming and restorative atmosphere is the perfect place to begin your getaway. Coated in natural colors, the hotel exudes a feeling of grounding that makes you feel instantly at home. The grounds are dotted with cozy fire pit vignettes that beg for you to curl up on one of the plush outdoor couches with a bottle of wine and a fuzzy blanket.
Where to Eat:
In Sonoma, you will rarely find a bad meal as most restaurants are using locally grown ingredients and sustainably sourced products. One such place is the French inspired local favorite The Girl and The Fig. The restaurant’s Fromage Tower is infamous around town and almost too pretty to eat. For something a bit lighter, check out Layla at MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa. The Mediterranean-inspired cuisine features bright, fresh dishes where local produce is the star. If you are hankering for authentic Mexican cuisine, El Molino Central is the perfect dinner spot that serves up some of the best mole in the state.
What to Do:
Home to over 425 wineries, wine tasting is a given when in Sonoma–but if you want an intimate experience that goes outside of the tasting room, book a tour with Bohemian Highway. Each expertly curated tour starts with transportation in a refurbished 1980’s Land Rover and is crafted to showcase the most unique wine purveyors in the county that don’t typically offer tastings to the general public. Explore Three Sticks Wine’s authentic hacienda in downtown Sonoma, tour and taste wines in the underground apartment/cave at B Wise Vineyards, and sit down to a truly local snack and wine pairing at Hamel Family Wines where even the sea salt was made locally by the in-house chef.
If you only have a couple hours, snag an appointment for a vineyard tour at Kamen Wines. Perched high in the thick of Moon Mountain, sample a few of the winery’s best blends from a picturesque overlook framing an endless rolling vineyard. On a clear day, you can spot San Francisco in the distance. If you’re lucky, the owner himself may pop out to say hello. For art fans, visit The Donum Estate for an exclusive tasting and tour of the grounds. Think Storm King, but on a vineyard. Meander through the works of artists like Keith Haring, Richard Hudson, and Louise Bourgeois while sipping the most delicious Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs grown on property.
Wine culture aside, the town of Sonoma is rich with history. Within the tiny central square, what is now Sonoma broke away from Mexico and created the Bear Flag Republic, which is paid homage to on the California State Flag, before being claimed as part of the United States. Explore the Town Hall and spot numerous effigies of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo throughout the small plaza.